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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Chapala, Mexico to McAllen, Texas - Border Run

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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It was time to make a run to the border.

Since we wanted some new computer equipment the decision was made to combine the two and go to McAllen, Texas and purchase what we needed stateside.

VivaAerobus Flight from Guadalajara to Reynosa, Mexico

VivaAerobus Flight from Guadalajara to Reynosa, Mexico

To get our border run adventure started, Billy went online to the VivaAerobus site and purchased 2 round-trip tickets from Guadalajara to Reynosa, Mexico for approximately $100USD each person.

There were not a lot of flight time choices, as the schedule was limited. Our flight left at 6:20am from GDL, and arrived in Reynosa REX, at 7:50 a.m., which gave us plenty of time for the border crossing. Experience has taught us that when crossing borders by land anything can happen including the border closing, so it is best to be flexible and allow plenty of time. 

 

 

 

 

In Chapala, we took a pre-arranged taxi at 4:10am (approximately $25USD) and we arrived at Guadalajara International Airport about 30 minutes later.

Our uneventful flight arrived on time in Reynosa. Walking towards baggage claim there was a security check inside that we had to clear before exiting. It took a little time and now it was 8:45 a.m.

As we left the baggage area, the first kiosk on the right was the VivaAerobus shuttle where I purchased tickets to the Reynosa Bus Station for 65Pesos each, about $3.60USD.

The shuttle to the Reynosa Bus Station left at 9am. All of this was easy, smooth and very timely.

Our bus tickets from Reynosa bus station to McAllen bus station

Our bus tickets from Reynosa bus station to McAllen bus station

From the airport, the shuttle to Reynosa Bus Station was about a 20 minute ride.

Off the shuttle, and into the Reynosa bus terminal, on the right is the Noreste counter which also sells tickets on the Panamericanas bus line. We purchased 2 tickets to McAllen, Texas Bus terminal for 63Pesos per person or about $3.50USD.

Noreste and Panamericanas bus lines are in the #10-to #12 bus parking slots.

We boarded the bus and told the driver that we needed to get stamped out of Mexico and file our tourist cards and that we would meet him on the other side of the Migration/Immigration offices.

This is important to get stamped out of Mexico otherwise your passport will reflect - incorrectly - that you never left Mexico.

 

 

 

 

The bus driver drops us off, and we ask officers on the ground which building is the Migration building and one of the officers told us it was the next building down. Just go up the steps, get stamped out, and then follow the sidewalk over the McAllen–Hidalgo–Reynosa International Bridge to the American side. It is a relatively short walk.

After getting stamped out, on the Mexican border side we walked across the bridge over the Rio Grande and we see our bus waiting to be inspected. There were two lines of people waiting to get into the Immigration building on the U.S. side.

One line is for non-residents entering the U.S. (which was verrry long) and the other was for those who are on the bus to McAllen. Fortunately for us, there were only 3 people in that line!

We are asked the regular border questions from the agent, had our gear x-rayed and went outside to wait under an awning with seating benches for our bus to arrive. At this point it is about 9:40 am, which is perfect.

Back on the bus, and arriving at McAllen's bus terminal, we purchase a sandwich at one of the shops and left the station to find a taxi to take us to our hotel.

Yellow taxis are lined up outside the terminal, and as is Billy's way, he bargains with the taxi driver for the fee to get to our hotel. The driver and Billy settle on $10USD (instead of $12USD), and when it's all said and done, we're in our fabulous hotel room about 10:15 in the morning.

Amazing.

We chose this particular Best Western hotel, because it was close to the shopping area (miles and miles of shopping and restaurants) and a Wal*Mart Supercenter where we were having our previously ordered computers delivered for an in-store pickup.

Map of our hotel location and Wal*Mart Supercenter within walking distance

Map of our hotel location and Wal*Mart Supercenter within walking distance

After about a 1 KM walk, we arrive at the store and picked up our stuff at customer call. Then we did a bit more shopping - day packs, a couple of tee shirts, a pair of shoes... and then off we go back to our hotel room.

Breaking the computers out of all the packaging, we begin the long process of updates and tweaking settings. Thank God Billy is a computer whiz or else I'd have to pay someone to do this for me.

Personally, I just want to turn the computer on, and begin writing or researching. But as anyone who has purchased new computer equipment knows, it's more complex than that!

Smoke House Bar-B-Cutie

Smoke House Bar-B-Cutie

As luck would have it, some good Early Retiree Friends of ours, Dennis and Martha McIntire are in the area visiting family! Well, one can't go to Texas without stopping for BBQ... so we make arrangements to get together and off we go amidst the hundreds of stores, restaurants and slabs of concrete and find this local Smoke House Bar-B-Cutie place.

Busy!

Scrumptious!

Beef brisket and spicy beans

Beef brisket and spicy beans

Yum!

Billy got the 1/3 pound beef brisket (moist) for $7.10USD with spicy beans, and I got the pulled pork ($5.19USD) and smoked beans.

This stuff is SO. GOOD.

Dennis, Martha, Billy and Akaisha

Dennis, Martha, Billy and Akaisha

Texas BBQ!

Unbeatable!

Fun to catch up with friends over a meal, and tell tales and share perspectives and family news.

Bus ticket from McAllen, Texas to Reynosa, Mexico

Bus ticket from McAllen, Texas to Reynosa, Mexico

Back to business!

Sunday morning we get up and enjoy our free breakfast buffet at our hotel, a great value, and then Billy contacts Uber to take us to the McAllen bus terminal. We received a great price, but we are registered to pay cash, and the Uber drivers in McAllen only take credit cards, therefore we have the front desk call us a cab instead. The previous $10 cab ride is now $15USD but off we go.

 

 

 

 

Inside the McAllen bus terminal we purchase 2 bus tickets from McAllen, Texas to Reynosa, Mexico Bus terminal for $5USD each.

Trying to duplicate our previous success with the border crossing, we went right through the American side, across the McAllen–Hidalgo–Reynosa International Bridge, and to the Mexican immigration office to get stamped back into Mexico.

It was at this point that we had to pay 533Pesos each, about $30USD for an exit tax and to get our passports stamped. We then had to wait for the officer to print out a receipt to place in our passports with his signature, so when we exit Mexico again we can show immigration that we have already paid this fee.

When flying across the borders, this fee is included in your flight ticket so you never see it. Land crossings are different, and the exit fee is separate.

To our surprise, when we got outside, our Panamericanas Bus had left without us!

Well, it turned out that this was the better deal, to have been abandoned by the bus driver in Reynosa, since we needed to get to our hotel on the Mexican side before boarding our flight in the morning back to Guadalajara. It was just simpler to take a taxi from the border area right to our hotel.

We then looked to our right and saw a plaza loaded with taxis and hired one to take us straight to City Express Hoteles, located 5 minutes to the airport and with a free airport shuttle and breakfast. The taxi charged us 200Pesos (about $11USD) for the ride.

We check in and get settled and relax with our new devices. The following morning we enjoy the complementary breakfast before taking the free shuttle to the Reynosa airport.

Editor's note: We would recommend that you take the moment here in Reynosa and purchase a snack, a bottle of water, beer or whatever you might want before heading off to your hotel. City Express worked out fine for us as a hotel due to its fabulous location, but it did not have a restaurant on premise other than the very good morning breakfast buffet included, and no stores within walking distance to get water or a meal. When we arrived, we were ready for lunch and after asking at the desk about options, the number two man jumped into action and offered to take Billy in their hotel van to a restaurant for take out. This worked out great as we then had plenty of food. Billy also had him stop at a 7/11 for other supplies - like bottled water - to get us through the night. Our hats off to the staff.

VivaAerobus flying back into Guadalajara airport (with Lake Chapala in the background)

VivaAerobus flying back into Guadalajara airport (with Lake Chapala in the background)

This was our quick border run turnaround, with carry-on luggage, our newly stamped passports in hand and power-packed computers with us.

Another tip for you - we always used to take taxis back to Chapala from the airport, but now we utilize Uber which is a far better deal. The price varies with Uber, but you can expect to save 100 - 200 Pesos on that ride back to the Lake.

We hope you find this information to be useful to you. It might sound a bit complex, but step-by-step, it's doable. McAllen is a great place to cross over into the States if you want to make some purchases, renew your visa or upgrade your wardrobe! There are plenty of factory outlet stores in the area of our Best Western Hotel, and lots of restaurants all within walking distance.

One can bus from Chapala to Reynosa and back again, but that trip is close to 15 hours, one way. We chose to take the short flight through VivaAeroBus instead since it is much more convenient and quick!

One more thing - If you are going to do this border run from Mexico to Texas, it's good to bring with you a few hundred US Dollars cash. Yes, you can charge your hotel room, your purchases and even your meals, but taking a taxi or buying something small like our sandwich and water at the bus station, you'll need some old fashioned cash. We did not search for an ATM either in the bus station or at the hotel, but our point is if you bring cash, you won't be dependent on making yet another stop so that you can financially function.

Anything to make this trip easier!

About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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